Climeworks, a direct air carbon capture technology company striving to remove historic carbon emissions from our atmosphere, has captured the attention of major computer tech firm Microsoft.
In January 2021, Microsoft disclosed that it made financial investments in Swiss company Climeworks. Also, Microsoft is working with Climeworks to tackle climate change from two angles—the reduction of new carbon dioxide emissions and the removal of past carbon dioxide.
Climeworks is backed by private investors. One of Climeworks’ most noteworthy investors, Microsoft, is also a customer. This probably isn't surprising since Microsoft’s co-founder Bill Gates has been outspoken about society’s obligation to reduce and eventually stop carbon emissions for the sake of the planet’s survival.
Gates, who authored the 2021 book How to Avoid A Climate Disaster, said in a Reddit question-and-answer session that when it comes to climate change, “We need to be open to ideas that seem wild,” according to CNBC. He noted that many new technologies are likely necessary, including carbon capture by Climeworks.
Microsoft is providing funding to Climeworks through its Climate Innovation Fund. The financial backing helped support Climeworks’ commercial-scale, fully renewable direct air capture and storage plant located in Iceland.
Climeworks' partnership with Microsoft
Microsoft using Climeworks to carry out its carbon removal plans might serve as an example to other corporations. Elizabeth Willmott is Microsoft’s Carbon Program Manager. She said, “Climeworks' direct air capture technology will serve as a key component of our carbon removal efforts.”
Recently, the company Swiss Re signed a 10-year agreement with Climeworks for carbon removal purchase. The value of the deal is approximately $10 million. In 2019, Swiss Re committed to reaching net-zero operational emissions by 2030, and the 2021 agreement aligns with that goal.
Climeworks' direct air capture technology
The way Climeworks operates involves first capturing CO2 from the air in Hellisheiði, Iceland. Climeworks also partners with Carbfix and combines carbon dioxide with water and pumps it underground. Next, the carbon dioxide undergoes a process of rapid underground mineralization to provide a safe and permanent storage solution.
On Sept. 8, Climeworks’ Orca plant was launched in Iceland. It’s “the world’s first and largest climate-positive direct air capture and storage plant.” Orca is expected to capture 4,000 tons of CO2 annually, which is more than any facility of its kind.
Also in September, Climeworks is hosting the second annual Direct Air Capture Summit. The event will train and educate business leaders in the technology involved in carbon removal programs. The speakers include personnel from Climeworks as well as CarbonCapture, Carbyon, Soletair Power, and AirCapture.
Is Climeworks publicly traded?
Currently, Climeworks is a privately held company and it isn't available to retail investors. Whether the company plans to eventually go public isn't known. However, there are multiple companies in the carbon capture technology business that are publicly traded.
Individuals can purchase a monthly subscription to Climeworks, which for a set fee, will enable the permanent removal of carbon dioxide from the air. Subscriptions start at $8 monthly, with $24 and $55 subscription levels as well.